Gathering Holiday Party Theme Ideas

Pinterest.com holiday partyOur new favorite resource for creative ideas is Pinterest.com. Whether you’re planning a holiday party, a wedding or a kitchen renovation, it makes browsing the Internet for ideas much easier and a lot more fun.

Instead of bookmarking, or worse, printing the ideas you love, you can ‘pin’ them to virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest.com. You can organize ideas by event, style, theme, or project, quickly go back to the source pages for recipes or how-tos, and even share all your ideas with friends. This makes it super easy to plan a party!

To show you how fun it is, we created a Pinboard to help us plan a holiday party using our Sketched Pinecones Holiday Party Invitations for inspiration. First we logged in to our Pinterest account and searched for “pinecone holiday décor” to find decorating ideas other people might have pinned. We re-pinned any images we liked, adding them to our Pinecone Party Pinboard.

Adding the “Pin It” tool to our toolbar allowed us to widen our search beyond Pinterest.com and pin images wherever we found them, crediting our sources and linking back to the details as we went. Quickly the theme began to come together, incorporating the cool aqua color, white feathers and pinecones in different ways. We found lots of DIY decorating ideas we loved, then searched for winter party food and beverage ideas, and pinned those, too.

Now that we have our party all planned, we can share the link with friends. If you have an account, you can follow our Pinboards at pinterest.com/peartreegrtngs and make comments, as well as create your own boards. If you like it, pin it. It’s that easy!

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Christmas Ornament Exchange Party

Christmas Party InvitationLast year, when we were decorating our Christmas tree, I noticed that our ornament collection was looking a little sad. Several were chipped or broken. The once shiny metal ones were tarnished, and the glass bulbs were cloudy. The collection has gotten smaller, as broken ornaments were not replaced. The ones that survived the toddler years are, for the most part, made of felt, metal or plastic.

Of course we have added quite a few beloved ones: the plaster-of-Paris snowman that weighs about three pounds and makes the tree lean to whichever side it’s on. The thumbprints that say, “Thumbunny loves me,” made in preschool, and the “My first Christmas” ornaments, to name a few. Still, it might be time to add to the collection.

I’ve always wanted to have an ornament exchange party. Pear Tree has the cutest tree-shaped, die-cut Christmas party invitations that would be perfect for an ornament exchange. Or maybe I’ll suggest it to my girlfriends when we’re talking about gift exchange party ideas this year.

I’ve never been one for themed Christmas trees, with matching ornaments and trendy color schemes. Christmas ornaments just don’t have much meaning when you buy a dozen at a time. I love walking into a store that has thousands of ornaments and walking out with just one—the perfect one, carefully chosen for the friend who will think of me every time she hangs it on her tree.

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It’s homemade—the best kind of gift!

Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas #Christmas #holidays #giftideas #peartreegreetings
Many of us love to bake during the holiday season, and share our treats with friends and neighbors. Cookies, fudge, toffee, dipped pretzels, popcorn balls, flavored oils and vinegars, liqueurs—whatever you love to make is what makes those great homemade Christmas gift ideas, because they comes from the heart.

I love opening the door to our friendly neighbor, who is hand delivering her annual gift of chocolate-covered toffee. We exchange holiday greetings and catch up on the neighborhood news. She, like everyone I know who shares the gift of their cooking, simply loves to do things for others and never expects anything more than a happy greeting in return.

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What are you thankful for?

Thanksgiving Traditions: What are you thankful for? #thanksgiving #peartreegreetings #thankful
If you are lucky enough to have a warm home to go to this Thanksgiving, filled with the mouthwatering smell of roasting turkey and the happy chatter of family and friends, then you have plenty of reasons to be thankful. It’s easy to get swept up in the hubbub of cooking and decorating, not to mention family tensions, and lose sight of what’s most important on this uniquely American holiday.

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Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas

Hostess gift ideas I don’t know about you, but I’m not one of those people who keeps a closet full of candles, chocolates and tip towels wrapped and waiting to be used as last-minute hostess gifts. No, during that last minute before a party I’m usually running to pick up a bottle of wine, a gift that displays as much thought as the dozen other bottles of wine lined up inside the hostess’s door. This holiday season, I vow to be a more thoughtful guest. Continue reading

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Fun Christmas Party Ideas: Cookie Exchange

Christmas cookie exchange partyA Christmas cookie exchange is one of those fun Christmas party ideas that puts everyone in the holiday spirit. Hmmm, could it be because you leave with dozens of cookies to eat and lots of new recipes to try?

I have to admit, I had an ulterior motive to hosting my first Cookie Exchange. I like baking cookies, but don’t have the patience to bake more than one or two varieties. Hosting a cookie exchange would guarantee me lots of different kinds of cookies, and enough to last through the holidays!

The idea is pretty simple. You invite friends and ask them to bring cookies. Lots of cookies. Enough cookies to give half a dozen or a dozen to everyone attending. As the hostess, you get to set the rules (number of guests, amount of cookies to bring, how to package them, etc.) and you should communicate this information in your Christmas party invitations.

There are different ways to do it, but I invited eight guests, and asked each guest to bring eight-dozen cookies, all the same kind. It sounds like a lot, but most of my guests agreed that it was a lot easier to double or triple a single recipe than to make dozens of different kinds. Adding to the fun, I also asked each guest to create a recipe card for the cookies they made, and to bring enough copies for each guest to take home.

My guests arrived with large boxes and trays of cookies, and we set them all around my table. I provided each guest with an empty holiday cookie tin and wax paper for layering. (Lined boxes or plastic containers would also work.) We shared wine, hors d’oeuvres, and funny cookie-baking stories, but the highlight of the evening was parading around the table, filling up our cookie tins.

I expected the Christmas spirit, but was surprised by the feeling of sisterhood that developed. It felt like an old-fashioned quilting bee, where the women of the village join forces to create something we could never have done on our own. Everyone went home happy, with eight different kinds of cookies, a tin to keep them fresh, and recipes to try next year—in short, a very successful, very satisfying party.

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Christmas card stuffing—it’s a family affair

hot chocolate
Sending Christmas cards can be a lot of work for one person. This year, make it a party and get the whole family involved. Stuffing envelopes and affixing stamps and address labels are jobs even kids can do. Here are some family Christmas ideas that will make it more fun:

  • Have your Christmas card list, address labels, cards, stamps and envelopes ready to go
  • Make it a festive occasion with some holiday tunes or holiday movies playing
  • Break out old holiday photo albums to share with the kids
  • Serve hot chocolate for the kids, wine for the grownups
  • Use snacks as a reward for finishing a task (sticky fingers and Christmas cards don’t mix)
  • Be sure to have the correct postage on hand. Most of our cards require one stamp, but we do sell a few that require more postage. If you are using a Christmas letter insert, recipe card insert or extra photos, it’s a good idea to weigh your card at the post office before buying stamps, just to be sure (self-adhesive stamps are easiest)
  • Self-adhesive Christmas address labels make addressing your cards go twice as fast—and they add a festive touch to your card before it’s even opened. Many cards have coordinating address labels designed to match!

Once you’ve got your Christmas cards and address labels ready to go, read more ideas on addressing Christmas cards on our blog. We’d love to hear more family Christmas ideas from you!

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Please RSVP. Seriously.

holiday partyMost of us have done it, but we’re not proud to admit it. Forgetting to RSVP is a social no-no and we all know it. From the French Répondez s’il vous plait, which means “please respond,” these four letters on a holiday party invitation usually means the host or hostess needs to know if you’re coming. Seriously.

For the host, not hearing back from you can be a vexing problem, particularly if it’s a smaller gathering. If you’re not sure you can come, or will be late, most hostesses would prefer you tell them that rather than not responding at all.

If you’re planning a party and wondering whether or not to include an RSVP request on your invitation, it is completely optional. Certainly for a formal dinner you will want to know how many places to set. In contrast, an RSVP might not be necessary for an open house, since people will be coming and going throughout and food is usually more casual.

Seasoned hostesses are good at estimating quantities and are always prepared for surprises. As a general rule of thumb, however, it’s a good idea NOT to be the one to surprise her!

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Christmas Invitation Ideas

snowball fightIt’s hard to use the words “financially responsible” and “holiday party” in the same sentence, but, there, I’ll come out and say it. Like it or not, people just aren’t throwing big, glamorous parties the way they used to. Many of us are choosing simpler, smaller affairs with our close friends, relatives and neighbors. These get-togethers are not only easier to plan and less expensive, they can also be a lot of fun.

We had budget-friendly gatherings in mind when we developed our line of Christmas Party Invitation ideas. Cookie exchange parties, tree-trimming gatherings, gingerbread decorating parties and spill-the-wine parties don’t have to be expensive.

One of our customers hosts an annual snowball fight in her backyard. Treats include hot cocoa with marshmallows and cinnamon rolls. Formal attire is not required. Your presence is requested because you are loved (and because it will be a hoot and you won’t want to miss it). Sure, we love the formality of a sit-down multi-course dinner, complete with place cards, champagne and catered hors d’oeuvres. But sometimes the simple gatherings are the most memorable.

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Gingerbread House Party

One of my favorite parts of the week is when my son (age 5) wakes up and calls me from his bed to cuddle (yes, he actually calls before getting out of bed and jumping into the day).  A few weeks ago during this time, he mentioned that he wanted to invite his new friends in our new neighborhood to have a gingerbread house-making contest.  I thought this was a wonderful way to get to know the neighborhood kids and their parents, since we are new to the area.  Sounded great – gingerbread houses for the kids, wine and cheese for the parents – and not too much work to put together.  Brilliant idea, I thought! And I knew just the design team to create a wonderful invitation! So this is the Gingerbread party invitations the team came up with… cute, cute, cute.
Gingerbread Lane -- Holiday Party Invitation
It turns out that this wonderful idea was a 5-year old’s ploy. At the end of the conversation, my son declared that the winner of the gingerbread making contest would win Legos, so really it was about How Do I Get More Legos? No matter, we are still having the party and looking forward to it!
-Liwanag, President

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